In the Eighties, horror flicks were all the rage. Sequels were obligatory and every year saw another Freddy, Jason, Pinhead or Michael Myers shocker. Among these were the House movies, which are a lot better than the genre reputation suggests.

First and foremost, this is not strictly a horror film. There are some sprinklings of light comedy here and there and the monsters are so ridiculous that they don't really scare. It sure makes for a welcome change in a decade full of blood, knifings and slayings.

Roger Cobb (William Katt) is a horror novelist, suffering from writers block. He can't seem to continue with his latest book, a recollection of his tour in 'Nam. The fans are eager but they want horror, not some war story. On top of all this, he is also dealing with a divorce and coping with the mysterious disappearance of his son. Depressed, he moves to his aunt's house, from where his son vanished and in which the old lady hung herself. A creepy log cabin in the mountains might be more appropriate, as Roger finds just as many distractions here.

The first distraction is his neighbour Harold (George Wendt), who shows up at the worst moments to hassle Roger in the Ned Flanders' style. The second distraction is a little more sinister. Monsters burst out of the closet at midnight, doors in the house lead into different dimensions and he is haunted by the memories of his best friend (Richard Moll), whom he betrayed back in 'Nam. Third, there is a sexy blonde, who bathes in his pool.

One of the most appealing things about House is that Roger doesn't respond with any clichéd horror movie tactic - running away, falling flat on his face, hiding under the sink, etc. Instead, he buys a camcorder and tries to capture the monsters on film to convince Harold, and himself, that he is not crazy.

He even manages to persuade Harold to help him catch a big raccoon, which hides out in a certain closet and only shows itself at midnight. Even at this, Harold gets scared, but not us. The film is only slightly dark and keeps a jovial mood for an hour and a half.

Steve Miner (Halloween H20, Lake Placid) intrigues us as much as Roger as to what the hell is going on. Ethan Wiley's script is the tiniest bit loose, but is smarter than you would think and even contains a few little touches that you might miss on the first couple of viewings.

It could have been beefier and longer, but if it was, it wouldn't be as irresistibly charming.

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2002
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A horror novelist with writers blocks seeks inspiration at a log cabin... and finds monsters instead.

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: Erhan Wiley, Fred Dekker

Starring: William Katt, George Wendt, Richard Moll, Kay Lenz

Year: 1986

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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